Could you live with less?
Be honest. When you look around your home do you see clutter? Are there things that you don’t really use or need, but are just taking up space? If so, why not get rid of them?
The 19th century artist and author William Morris reportedly said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
A similar sentiment has been more recently expressed by decluttering guru Marie Kondo, who encourages us to keep only things that “spark joy”. In fact, Kondo goes as far to say that if you make the effort to put your house in order, it then enables you to see more clearly what you do and don’t need in your life, and helps you to make decisions about the direction you want your life to take.
But what exactly is a minimalist lifestyle and how do you get there?
Described simply – minimalistically, even! – a minimalist lifestyle is about not only living with less, but starting to desire less. And it applies not just to possessions but to many other areas of life as well.
We’ve been looking into the minimalist lifestyle and we reckon there are five steps that will get you well on the way there.
Let’s take a look.
As we just explained, the minimalist lifestyle is not only about possessions. But clearing out unwanted and unneeded possessions is a great place to start. Whether it’s your spare room, garage, loft, understairs cupboard or all those places, get in there and start decluttering.
Be ruthless. Remember the guidelines we looked at earlier: if an item is not useful or beautiful, and it doesn’t spark joy, then do you really need or want it? Imagine how free you would feel just to be surrounded by the things you really love.
And the good news is that there are so many places where you can rehome your unwanted goods. Charity appeals, charity shops, family and friends, neighbourhood initiatives, online selling sites to name but a few. So getting rid of your unwanted stuff will not only free up your life, but could be a bonus to others or even earn you some extra money.
Decluttering your home can free up physical space which gives you the opportunity to restructure it. You may want to move furniture around to take advantage of more light or better views, or perhaps even change the function of a room. Or you may choose to try and adopt some feng shui principles, with different areas of your home representing significant aspects of your life.
However you want to structure your living space, having less stuff makes it much easier to do. A few general tips to bear in mind are:
Keep regularly used items easy to get to.
Have significant personal items on display to bring joy and keep you focused.
Use colours, styles and textures that inspire you.
Don’t overfill your rooms with too much furniture. Less is more.
Ensure everything has a place, and things are only visible if you want them to be.
When restructuring your living space, it may be worth investing in a few new items of furniture and storage; items that will fit with your changing requirements. Otherwise you could end up trying to base your room layout around unnecessary furniture that no longer works for you. If you want to do this, remember that Minty offers 24 month loans that may be able to help. You will also discover various charities and community organisations who will probably be grateful to receive your unwanted items.
The first thing most people think about regarding a minimalist lifestyle is getting rid of stuff. But just as important is the space that minimalism can give you for the important things in your life.
Going minimalist can help to free your mind to focus on other priorities, rather than the ongoing pursuit, purchase and maintenance of material possessions. You will be able to channel time, energy and money into the things that matter to you.
Many people find that the minimalist lifestyle enables them to enjoy more experiences. Freedom from possession-building can release resources for other things. There has been a great deal of research over the years showing that experiences usually bring people more joy than possessions. The minimalist lifestyle is an ideal catalyst for that to happen.
The minimalist lifestyle can also impact your relationships and your time in a positive way. You are likely to be more discerning about what you do and don’t want to do, and will feel more able to say no to the latter. You may also start to streamline your friendship group, so that you spend more time doing things you want to with the people that really matter to you, rather than trying to be involved in everything with everybody.
Overall, the minimalist lifestyle can lead to a gradual reduction in extraneous “noise” in your life. Once you become clearer about your priorities, you are likely to spend less time on filler activities – meetings, shopping, TV bingeing, phone apps etc – and be more focused on the things you really want to do.
The issue of focus is central to minimalist life. Rather than feeling pulled in several directions at the same time, focusing on one thing at a time can help you to feel more purposeful and in control.
This relates closely to the concept of mindfulness: appreciating the present and enjoying being there, rather than always yearning for something else instead. This living for today can bring a greater sense of contentment than a more scattergun approach.
So, if you want to pursue a more minimalist lifestyle, we hope that this article has given you some pointers in the right direction.